Wildlife Diary - June 2021

Chameleon Gecko (Carphodactylus laevis)

What a wet month June was - not so much in amounts of rain, but just dark and drizzly a lot of the time. Nevertheless, it was another month packed with wildlife experiences and a good number of tours. Travelling Australian wildlife enthusiasts are making up for the absence of international travellers. It's quite amazing. Big thanks to all of you who went out with me the past month. It was great to meet you and be out with you. During one of our birding tours, I found a squashed nightjar in Mount Hypipamee car park. Not a very pleasing sight, but an interesting find nevertheless. Especially because it looks like this was a Spotted Nightjar. This nightjar is not found in rainforest, although it can occur in the Atherton area later in the year. It is possible that this bird collided with a vehicle coming from out west where it is drier and where there is more suitable habitat. It will forever be a mystery. 

We had frogs on every nocturnal we did in June: Northern Barred Frog (Mixophyes schevilli), Green-eyed Tree Frog (Litoria serrata), Northern Stony Creek Frog (Litoria jungguy) and even the Robust Whistling Frog (Austrochaperina robusta) started calling after some rain on a slightly warmer night.

We also had Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuarius cornutus) and Chameleon Gecko (Carphodactylus laevis) on every nocturnal tour, with a record 4 Chameleon Gecko in one night. Both these geckos are Wet Tropics Bioregion endemics.

Sadly, I have been seeing quite a few cats as well while lout doing nocturnal tours. All in national parks. I hope one day soon the federal government or even lour state government will have cat lovers keep their cats indoors. I don't dislike cats, but they kill a huge number of our native wildlife and we are just letting it happen. It's ridiculous.

On a Nocturnal Exploration Tour, we had this funny moment where we targeted Greater Glider and had one individual just as we got out of the car. Well, we had three, and a fourth one further down the track. Something similar happened to me and my guest from the Netherlands in 2017 when we parked in the Etty Bay car park and a Southern Cassowary appeared right in front of the car. Why make it difficult when wildlife watching can be easy! 

Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) - Image by guest David Cook (copyright)

We've added another species to the property list: Magpie Goose. Species 144 was only a fly-by, but one to be recorded anyway  The wet weather has made the farm manager postpone his mowing of the King Quail paddock, so no King Quails closer to the house (yet). I've heard Golden Bowerbird in the creek behind us just like last year, but have not seen one yet. The last couple of days, I did not hear any rasping calls either. Maybe it moved further down the creek. 

I had planned a 6 day trip to follow up on Bennett's Tree-kangaroo with the family, but we were rained out and had to deal with a leaking tent so we packed up and went home to leave for a shorter stint out at Undara NP. We did not get a chance to head out and look for the tree-kangaroo, but we did find Red-capped Plover with very young chicks at Cape Tribulation. 

Juvenile Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)  - Cape Tribulation

In Undara NP, we stayed at Undara Experience for a couple of nights. I mainly searched for geckos, but also had mammals: Rufous Bettong, Mareeba Rock-wallaby, Common Wallaroo and Easter Grey Kangaroo. We found a few spiders too. One of the nicer geckos was the Northern Spotted Velvet Gecko (Oedura coggeri).

Northern Spotted Velvet Gecko (Oedura coggeri)

On our final day at Undara NP, we found a Prickly Knob-tailed Gecko (Nephrurus asper) on an early morning walk. It was on its back on the track and seemed to be dying. It still had some life in it, but I don't think it had much longer to live. I picked it up and placed in under cover near a rock. Bit of a sad ending to a nice few days. The gecko didn't seem harmed or stepped on or anything like that which left us guessing as to what caused its death.

Zigzag Velvet Gecko (Amalosia rhombifer)

Prickly Knob-tailed Gecko (Nephrurus asper)

Thank you for reading and following Eyes on Wildlife!